One soldier was killed and two others were injured Wednesday night in the hard landing of their Special Operations Blackhawk helicopter at Hunter Airfield in Georgia.
The crash victims were members of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, known as the “Nightstalkers”.
Nightstalker pilots are known for being some of the most highly skilled helicopter pilots in the Army and fly dangerous special operations missions. Some of the unit’s pilots flew the helicopters involved in the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
The 160th SOAR is headquartered at Fort Campbell, Ky., but the MH-60 Blackhawk helicopter belonged to the unit’s third battalion which is based at Hunter Airfield in Savannah, Ga.
Allen Hill, a spokesman for the 160th SOAR, said the helicopter was returning from a training flight and was on final approach to land when the hard landing occurred. Hill says “the pilot was in control of the aircraft until it hit the ground and it did roll on its side.” An investigation is ongoing.
Aviators from the 160th SOAR ”are specialized in nighttime operation, they are highly skilled pilots, the most highly trained and most skilled pilots capable of operating in hours of limited visibility,” said Hill.
Hill says there were clear weather conditions at the time of Wednesday night’s crash.